Thursday, 28 September 2017

Welsh Road (Marathons, hospitals and missing taxis)

Red Admiral on ivy flowers on Tuesday


It was up early on Sunday morning for all three of us as we were off to see Catherine running in Nottingham’s half marathon.  We planned to see her at the half-way point, at the top of a hill, to give her some encouragement.  We then had to find a way of getting to the finish line before she got there.  All went according to plan and she was full of smiles when she heard us shouting to tell her she was nearly at the top of the hill.  We had a bit of trouble getting to the finish line and had to park over a mile away but just got there with about ten minutes to spare.  We're not sure what Buddy thought of it all - he just laid down and slept whenever we were stood waiting.

Cat sprinting at the end (she’s the one with her thumbs up 😉)
There had been a good turnout with about 10,000 running the half marathon and 3,000 running the full marathon.  They follow the same course with an extra 13 miles added on for the marathon runners.  I think it must be quite dispiriting, as a full marathon runner, to get to the end of the half knowing that you haven't really finished and need to run another 13 miles.

When we got home we found we had neighbours and had a chat as we were ferrying stuff to and from the car.  We have seen their boat before but not actually met them and, as usual, I cannot remember their names.  They have lived on their boat, Izzy, for a year and as he works in Rugby and she is a school inspector for Warwickshire they tend to cruise the same area as us.  Amazingly, to me anyway, he cycles to Rugby every day.  

As usual, when we meet local continuous cruisers for the first time, we are reminded just how many people live the life we do in the same area without coming across each other.  I'm also reminded that we only have another 5 ½ months to go before we finish bridge hopping and can get back to cruising all over the country.

On Monday morning, Buddy and I dropped Karen at work at six and then drove up to Yorkshire to see my parents for a couple of days.  My mother had had an accident last week and had broken bones in both ankles.  My sister had been up there for nearly a week, ferrying my dad to visit my mum in hospital and doing all the other things you have to do when caring for parents.  Unfortunately, my dad has hurt his back and can only walk with the aid of a zimmer frame so extra care was needed.

Mum has had ski-like boots fitted and can walk with the aid of a zimmer too.  She is in good spirits and is not one for laying down in bed all day so hopefully she won’t be in hospital too long.

Mum and Dad having a zimmer race – I wish I’d borrowed one and joined in too 😉

During a break from hospital visits I took Buddy for a walk along the Leeds & Liverpool canal which runs through my parents’ village; Gargrave is on the northernmost point of the canal.  As I was walking past some moored boats I recognised one, called Martha, and realised that Nicola, a boating friend from Braunston, was cruising the canal.  We had a good catch up but decided not to socialise later in the evening as she had just got back from a holiday in Spain and I needed to do things for my dad.  It transpired that she is in the area for a while as she and her brother, who also lives locally, are taking turns looking after their father who is also not well – a small world isn’t it?

Buddy on one set of the stepping stones across the river in Gargrave

It was strange being on my own on the stepping stones as we usually visit them once a year with as many of the children as possible.  Traditionally we take a picture in height order and another in age order.  Here’s a couple from previous years:

2001: Us with seven of the children in no particular order (Karen's the tallest one!)

2010: Us with the same seven children but in height order and with our previous dog, Diesel


As I had the car, Karen got a taxi home from work on Monday evening and arranged for the same firm to pick her up early in the morning.  I was awake at six so called her to make sure she had been picked up OK but she was still waiting in the dark on Welsh Road bridge.  After ten minutes she rang the taxi cab (Leamington Taxis) but couldn’t get a reply so I got hold of a local guy we use sometimes (John’s Cars) and he was just leaving Birmingham airport and said he would get to her as quickly as he could.  

Later in the day Karen got hold of Leamington Taxis and they told her that the driver had forgotten and amazingly they didn’t even apologise!  As you can imagine we have given them an appropriate review and left good feedback for John.

On the way to hospital on Tuesday, Dad and I did some shopping at Tesco and Dad had a go on a motorised trolley for the first time as it’s something he’s wanted to do since he’s been unable to walk unaided.

Dad the learner driver at nearly 90 (years old, not speed!)

I drove back down to the Midlands on Tuesday afternoon, picking Karen up from work on the way.  Before leaving I took Buddy for a quick walk and found a privet hedge covered in ivy which was covered in flowers which had attracted 16 Red Admiral butterflies and dozens of bees.


I can count eight Red Admirals in this shot

Buddy and I took it easy on Wednesday, walking down the canal to Radford in the morning and up it to Long Itchington in the afternoon, whilst Karen drove to Manchester and back for some meetings.

Gill and her family passed us in the morning on The Teal on the way back to their mooring at Wigrams Turn.  They were the family who locked down with us on our cruise on Sunday.  Since then they have been down to visit Leam and Warwick.


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